36 years ago today, Richard Nixon turned in a letter to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger resigning the Presidency. He became the first President of the United States to walk away from the office, and left in charge Vice President Gerald Ford, who proclaimed that “our long national nightmare is over.” I know someone who toured the White House the next morning, and every photo of Nixon was absent, every one of them replaced with pictures of President Ford. All traces of Nixon had been quickly, quietly and systematically eradicated.
This is a town that can turn on a dime, strike out allegiances and bury you in just 24 hours, with the help of swift, diligent and silent forces of the bureaucracy. Every once in awhile it’s a good idea to take a moment, pause, and reflect on the fate of Nixon. No one questions that Nixon made mistakes, and that his hubris, along with his cover-up attempt, were responsible for his downfall, but this is a town that will just erase you from its present.
Now, if you’ll be needing me, I’ll be over here burning some old photographs and erasing some tapes.